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Online Appendix to Should the Social Security Trust Fund hold Equities? An Intergenerational Welfare Analysis


  • Henning Bohn

    () (Department of Economics, University of California at Santa Barbara)


In a stochastic economy with overlapping generations, fiscal policy affects the allocation of aggregate risks. The paper shows how to compute the welfare effects of marginal policy changes that shift risk across cohorts, in general and for an application to social security equity investments. I estimate the relevant correlations between macroeconomic shocks and equity returns from 1874-1996 U.S. data, calibrate the model, and find positive welfare effects for equity investments. Since stock returns are positively correlated with social security's wage-indexed benefit obligations, equity investments would also help to stabilize the payroll tax rate. (Copyright: Academic Press)

Suggested Citation

  • Henning Bohn, 1999. "Online Appendix to Should the Social Security Trust Fund hold Equities? An Intergenerational Welfare Analysis," Technical Appendices bohn99, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:append:bohn99 Note: The original article was published in the Review of Economic Dynamics, volume 2 (July 1999), pages 666-697

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Enders, Walter & Lapan, Harvey E, 1982. "Social Security Taxation and Intergenerational Risk Sharing," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 23(3), pages 647-658, October.
    2. Weil, Philippe, 1989. "The equity premium puzzle and the risk-free rate puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 401-421, November.
    3. Baxter, Marianne & Jermann, Urban J, 1997. "The International Diversification Puzzle Is Worse Than You Think," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 170-180, March.
    4. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
    5. Gordon, Roger H. & Varian, Hal R., 1988. "Intergenerational risk sharing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 185-202, November.
    6. John Y. Campbell & Luis M. Viceira, 1999. "Consumption and Portfolio Decisions when Expected Returns are Time Varying," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 433-495.
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    Cited by:

    1. Axel Börsch-Supan & Alexander Ludwig & Joachim Winter, 2006. "Ageing, Pension Reform and Capital Flows: A Multi-Country Simulation Model," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(292), pages 625-658, November.
    2. Bohn, Henning, 2011. "Should public retirement plans be fully funded?," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(02), pages 195-219, April.
    3. Henning Bohn, 2001. "Social Security and Demographic Uncertainty: The Risk-Sharing Properties of Alternative Policies," NBER Chapters,in: Risk Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform, pages 203-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Wagener, Andreas, 2004. "On intergenerational risk sharing within social security schemes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 181-206, March.
    5. Andrew B. Abel, 2001. "The Social Security Trust Fund, the Riskless Interest Rate, and Capital Accumulation," NBER Chapters,in: Risk Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform, pages 153-202 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Axel Boersch-Supan & Florian Heiss & Alexander Ludwig & Joachim Winter, 2003. "Pension Reform, Capital Markets and the Rate of Return," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 4(2), pages 151-181, May.
    7. Olovsson, Conny, 2010. "Quantifying the risk-sharing welfare gains of social security," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 364-375, April.
    8. Kim, Jinill & Kim, Sunghyun Henry, 2003. "Spurious welfare reversals in international business cycle models," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 471-500, August.
    9. G. M. Constantinides & J. B. Donaldson & R. Mehra, 2005. "Junior must pay: pricing the implicit put in privatizing Social Security," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-34, January.
    10. Mark Kamstra & Robert Shiller, 2009. "The Case for Trills: Giving the People and Their Pension Funds a Stake in the Wealth of the Nation," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2418, Yale School of Management.
    11. Farmer, Michael C., 2005. "Environmental consequences of social security reform: a second best threat to public conservation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 191-209, April.
    12. Hurst, Erik & Willen, Paul, 2007. "Social security and unsecured debt," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1273-1297, August.
    13. Henning Bohn, 2001. "Retirement Savings in an Aging Society: A Case for Innovative Government Debt Management," CESifo Working Paper Series 494, CESifo Group Munich.
    14. Kent Smetters, 2001. "The Equivalence of the Social Security's Trust Fund Portfolio Allocation and Capital Income Tax Policy," NBER Working Papers 8259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Olovsson, Conny, 2004. "The Welfare Gains of Improving Risk Sharing in Social Security," Seminar Papers 728, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
    16. Peter Broer, 2012. "Social Security and Macroeconomic Risk in General Equilibrium," CPB Discussion Paper 221, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    17. Shiller, Robert J., 1999. "Social security and institutions for intergenerational, intragenerational, and international risk-sharing," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 165-204, June.
    18. Kent A. Smetters, 2003. "Trading with the Unborn: A New Perspective on Capital Income Taxation," NBER Working Papers 9412, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Smetters, Kent, 2006. "Risk sharing across generations without publicly owned equities," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1493-1508, October.
    20. Olovsson, Conny, 2004. "Social Security and the Equity Premium Puzzle," Seminar Papers 729, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
    21. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Lovely, Mary E. & Tosun, Mehmet S., 2004. "Generational conflict, fiscal policy, and economic growth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 1-23, March.

    More about this item


    social security; equity investment; risk sharing; overlapping generations; welfare;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions


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